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Seminar 12:
Homosexuality, Christian Community, and the Word of God

We must speak with muted voice
Because there are beginnings
That we do not know,
And there is tenderness
That we dare not deny;
Because the reality is not a name
But a beating human heart
Waiting on the word,
Ever waiting hungry for the word...

The word of God is Christ. The Bible is witness to the word, and bearer of the word, and the word is realised in the apprehension of those who engage with one another in an attitude of godly respect; and the word is realised in engaging with scripture in acts of reading, thinking, praying and conversing. Contemporary studies in the interpretation of texts reveal the complex nature of the transmission of meaning. The word has no shape other than the one we give it, and often we give it a shape that reflects only our fears and misunderstanding, our aspirations and allegiances. What then is God's word on homosexuality? This cannot be a definite word, an "ever-exegesis" of one clear meaning. This cannot be an unchanging word as though my hermeneutic and yours might agree immutably.

An examination of how the biblical texts pertaining to homosexuality can be differently understood, interpreted and applied today, will reveal that God's word is not in any sense under the control of those who would wish to prohibit and legislate. It is a living word, active and dynamic, difficult to grasp, but infinitely wise...

Rev'd Catherine Thomson, member of General Synod Doctrine Commission.

Whose Homosexuality? Which Authority? Homosexual Practice, Marriage and Ordination

The homosexual issue is one about authority and identity. In the Anglican and Wesleyan quadrilateral of authorities – scripture, tradition, reason, experience – I will argue thatscripture and tradition (and reason and experience) are clearly against homosexual practice, though not against homosexual persons. That quadrilateral in Cranmer's view, Wesley's view and historic Christian orthodxy's view is a hierarchy or ladder, not a table of equal authorities as it is often seen today, e.g. in the Doctrine Commission's Faithfulness in Fellowship. Our identity as Christians is more fundamental than our sexual identity. This relativises both 'inside the tramtracks' homosexual identity politics and suburban family values heterosexual homophobia in the light of Christ and our ultimate social location in the city of God.

Gordon Preece, Director and Dean, Macquarie Christian Studies Institute, Macquarie University.

Two vastly different views will be offered, to be followed by question time, chaired by Rev'd Canon John Stewart, a member of the ISS Advisory Board.

Date Thursday 18 August
Time 7.30 - 9.30 pm
Venue St Peter's, Eastern Hill
Cost $15 (concession: $12)

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